Afghanistan

With the latest news of the 100th death this year of a British soldier in Afghanistan, this imperialist adventure is getting more and more unpopular. In an article published in the current issue of Socialist Appeal published at the end of November, Rob Sewell looks at the latest situation and its background of a war that can never deliver social and economic progress to the Afghan people.

The US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan are fighting an unwinnable war. This fact is seeping into the consciousness of millions of people in the west who are now opposed to the war. But also in Afghanistan there are signs that the ordinary people are tired of both the imperialist occupation forces and the Taliban. The only alternative to the present barbarism is the struggle for a socialist federation of South Asia, which would include a socialist Afghanistan.

On Thursday, August 20, 2009, Afghanistan held its provincial and presidential elections. This is the second presidential election since the occupation of the country began in 2001. While a winner has yet to be declared, many predicted that incumbent Hamid Karzai would win outright in the first round of the election, although recent reports suggest a second round of voting is possible. Regardless of who is elected, they will be backed by the US-led NATO occupation forces, who aren’t planning on leaving any time soon.

Afghanistan is entering a period of acute crisis that could put the final nail in the coffin of the imperialist intervention there. Contradictions in the military and political situation have been building beneath the surface for years. The inability of NATO to defeat the Taliban is a direct reflection of the corruption, nepotism, and incompetence of the Karzai regime.

The war in Afghanistan has re-emerged in the headlines as casualty rates for American and British forces have now reached their highest since the invasion of Afghanistan. Already more than one hundred American troops have been killed since the beginning of this year alone, whilst in Britain the news has been dominated by the deaths of eight soldiers who were killed in twenty four hours over the weekend.

A British Army brigadier recently admitted what we said long ago on the pages of this website: a military victory over the Taliban was “neither feasible nor supportable”. Neither side is winning and this is pushing the more realistic and serious minded strategists of capital to look at other solutions, a deal of some kind. Meanwhile the ordinary people continue to suffer.

On June 13th, Taliban fighters launched a large-scale raid on Kandahar prison. Nearly 1,200 prisoners, including 400 Taliban insurgents, were freed. Taliban forces then captured 7 towns and villages in the Arghandab region of Kandahar province. Although NATO forces subsequently regained control, these events highlight the real situation in Afghanistan, one where the Taliban are getting stronger, not weaker.

We are making available to our readers an article written by Engels on Afghanistan 150 years ago. In spite of the years that have passed the article is still relevant today. The imperialists did not understand the situation in Afghanistan then as they continue not to understand it today.

Up until recently, while Iraq was viewed as a quagmire, Afghanistan was seen as a relatively successful part of George Bush’s “War on Terror.” Now, even this silver lining is beginning to disappear.

The media in the West insist that the war in Afghanistan is against "terrorists", but a closer look shows a people resisting imperialist aggression. The country has been brought close to barbarism, but there is still potential for revolutionary developments.

Recent rioting in Kabul after a US military vehicle collided with civilian vehicles killing dozens has highlighted once again the dilemma facing the imperialists. Resentment at the presence of foreign troops is growing among the people as Taliban activities also spread.

With Iraq as the focus of world opinion, Canada, Germany, France and Italy are quietly conducting an imperialist war in Afghanistan. The recent deaths of four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan highlight the need to oppose the intervention.

After three and a half years of US occupation, peace, stability, and freedom are restricted in the presidential enclave behind huge concrete blocks in Kabul. Here is where Mr. Karzai resides. American mercenaries guard him, advised or dictated to, whatever you may call it, by American diplomats and instructed by the State Department in Washington.

A number of activists of the Iranian Revolutionary Socialists’ League and the Jed-o Jahd organisation of Pakistan, as well as a section of the revolutionary socialists of Afghanistan, have come together to publish a new joint Marxist paper, an essential tool in the task of spreading the ideas of genuine Marxism in the region. The Farsi text is available in pdf format, with an English version of the articles also available for non Farsi readers.

This is an article from the current Asian Marxist Review on the Loya Jirga, an ancient pre-feudal tradition that is being resurrected by the imperialists to give an illusion of democracy in Afghanistan and to justify their aggression and the rule of their puppets.

The US and coalition forces have been chasing their own shadows for the last few months in Afghanistan without achieving any tangible results. Increasingly frustrated, the US forces are lashing out in all directions, in the vain hope of killing "the enemy". So far the only people killed have been civilians and US allies.

Alan Woods takes a look at the unsuccessful military exploits of the British expeditionary force that Tony Blair so enthusiastically sent to Afghanistan, hoping to take on Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

"Inaction is not an option," declares George W. Bush, seeking to extend the "war on terror" to Iraq. But the recent heavy fighting between US and Afghan forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan gives the lie to those who say the war is over. It is dawning on the military strategists that victory cannot be won by air power alone, and combat troops will be required on the ground for some time to come. However, using Afghan forces has proved complicated, as the warlords - newly armed by the Americans - seek to reassert their influence.